Yesterday I wrote about a Victorian vicar who believed that the Nephilim built the Egyptian pyramids. This inspired me to take a look at other spiritual leaders who made archaeological claims about the Nephilim and their works. In so doing, I came across some bizarre claims by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, the New Age guru who combined Theosophy, New Age mysticism, and Christianity in her Church Universal and Triumphant. Prophet claimed that at age 22 Theosophy’s Ascended Master came to her in a vision and proclaimed her a messenger of God. Fortunately for her, this vocation came with hefty remuneration and decades of media appearances. Prophet died in 2009, a decade after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
In 1985, Prophet published The Ascended Masters on Soul Mates and Twin Flames, credited both to her and her husband Mark L. Prophet, another messenger of God proclaimed by the Ascended Masters who had died twelve years earlier. On July 14, 1985, Elizabeth Clare Prophet dictated a lecture on “The Initiation of Ministering Servants: The Beloved Messenger,” which became the forty-second chapter of the book, published in its second volume. In this dictation, Prophet describes the Nephilim and their archaeology.
I can tell you as one point of evidence of many, many points of evidence I could give you this evening that I stood at Baalbek with Mark Prophet—on that very site in Lebanon. And it was radioactive from evil, intense evil. If that’s the site of the infamous works of the Nephilim gods, believe me, I’ve got their number just from the vibration of that site alone!
Prophet alleged that the site was so consumed with evil that a person in their touring party “chose Satan” due to the Trilithon’s demonic power and “has never been the same since.” She claimed that Baalbek’s Nephilim vibrations were the source for all strife in the Middle East, so she and her husband performed exorcism rituals involving Theosophy’s White Brotherhood to clear the site of its evil power. “I went into each little temple and enclosure half destroyed and made my best calls to the Brotherhood to clear the area.” Obviously, it didn’t work.
Prophet, in a confusing ramble, seemed to then compare her exorcism to a cleansing by nuclear energy. She recalled that Mark Prophet had alleged that Sodom and Gomorrah had been destroyed by nuclear energy, but said that he refused to explain how he knew this. “I never asked him how he know because I figured he knew everything he knew from God. And so I didn’t inquire further, but I certainly did believe him.”
Funny thing, though: God wasn’t really involved in either Prophet’s claims. The ultimate warrant for all of this is the local Lebanese legend that Baalbek had been the Tower of Babel and had been constructed by the evil giant Nimrod, but the Prophets weren’t aware of this, at least not directly. According to no less unimpeachable source that Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s own footnotes to her dictation, her source of information for the Nephilim and their construction of Baalbek was Zecharia Sitchin’s The Wars of Gods and Men (1985), published only weeks before she spoke. Interestingly, Prophet had to equate Sitchin’s Anunnaki with the Nephilim in order to use Sitchin’s claims to support her own, suggesting a greater familiarity with Sitchin than just one ancient astronaut book, since the Nephilim don’t appear in Wars but rather in The Twelfth Planet (1976).
We don’t have to speculate, though. In “their” book The Path of Christ or Antichrist (2007), the Prophets (or, more accurately, whoever was editing and compiling books for Elizabeth in her last months) cite their knowledge of the Nephilim to Sitchin’s Twelfth Planet, which they endorse with the caveat that the aliens are really spiritual beings serving God and the Devil. This was hardly the only appearance of Sitchin in the Prophet oeuvre. Prophet mentioned Sitchin and Twelfth Planet so often that Bradley Whitsel made a note about it in his 2003 academic study of The Church Universal and Triumphant (Syracuse U. Press).
This larger familiarity with fringe literature is clear elsewhere as well. The nuclear annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah had been proposed by the Soviet writer Matest M. Agrest in the 1950s, and was best known in the West from its citation in Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods, Peter Kolosimo’s Not of This World, and Louis Pauwels’s and Jacques Bergier’s Morning of the Magicians. When Mark Prophet took over the claim wholesale—on orders from God!—he was simply repeating an idea that had grown familiar from the popular culture of the 1970s.
There was hardly a fringe book that one of the Prophets didn’t endorse, right down to The Dweller on Two Planets, the pseudo-Theosophical book about Atlanteans living under Mt. Shasta. In her day, Elizabeth Clare Prophet was a celebrity, appearing on network TV, syndicated talk shows and In Search of… and Ancient Prophecies to spout her Theosophical speculations. We shan’t see that again, if only because that kind of lunacy migrated to cable and the internet, where it’s available 24/7 and is no longer either shocking or noteworthy. On the upside, it makes it a bit harder to attract a mass spiritual following and huge tax-exempt religious donations when every Sitchin super-fan has a website and YouTube is chock full of wacky rants.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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